I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
I’ve been an awful fuck most of my life. When I was a kid, like most kids, what other people thought of me was more important than my opinions about myself. I told people what I thought they wanted to hear about me, and told stories I thought would make me seem cooler then I actually was. I was a compulsive liar – sadly a trait that followed me into adult hood. I was a heart breaker. The level of which most would deem professional. After a while, it started to wear on who I was, and how I saw myself. Worse, was that I didn’t know how to change my self-image. And it got so bad I couldn’t even look myself in the mirror.
Then, a few years ago, I decided to start over. I dropped contact with everyone from my old life and ran off with some hot shot dude I thought could save me from life. I wasted three years in that relationship. And I say “waste” because in hindsight, it was. It was a waste of time for both of us, not just me. I thought I loved him, but I didn’t see a future in him, I saw salvation. I saw a chance to right my wrongs through this random guy. I stayed with him through a lot of stuff that I should have never put up with. But I felt it was karma for everything I had done wrong in my life. It wasn’t the first relationship of it’s kind, but it was the last.
When he dumped me, I was ruined. I had invested my everything in him. In false salvation. But soon after the break up I ran into one of the people I had left in my old life. We got coffee and I told him all about the relationship. And he said to me: “You always made yourself the monster. Pinned yourself as the bad guy. But no one deserves to feel the way that you make yourself feel. No one.”
It struck me for many reasons. Mostly because I couldn’t believe this person who, in my opinion I had been so awful to, was willing to open his arms, and help me in my time of need. But he was. And I started to think, if I was really the awful fuck I believed I was, why would this person still be willing to listen? And I realized, yes I made mistakes, but giving myself the death penalty wasn’t going to undo what I’ve done in my life. All I could do was try to be a better person from then on.
At some point I realized, I was being harder on myself then anyone else was. I still make mistakes. No one’s perfect after all. But I try to recognize why I make them now. And I try to make sure that those mistakes aren’t going to hurt anyone else when I make them. Because I may have broken many hearts, but in the end, the one that took the most damage was my own.
Chuck Palahniuk wrote in his novel Fight Club, that it’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. I think this applies especially in reforming yourself. Sometimes you have to start from ground zero to build back up a better you. And it took a rough life lesson for me to find that it was even possible to build a better me. But I did it, and I learned that all it actually took was the desire to change, and believing I had the power to do so.